Sustainability in the Workplace Starts with Your People

In recent years, sustainability and themes surrounding the social environment have significantly, and rightfully so, risen up the priority ranks for organizations across the world. In 2021, with the UK hosting the UN Climate Change Conference, sustainability continues to dominate the imagination of administrations, organizations and broader society. Whether organizations are ready or not, shifting your business model to support sustainability in the workplace will become the uppermost priority. 

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Like many other global organizations, you will need to look at your own sustainability practices to reassess where and how you use office space and make those spaces as environmentally conscious as possible. In the light of recent global events, we’ve identified several sustainability-related concepts set to dominate throughout 2021. 

  • Rethink Your Carbon Footprint 

The costs of operating a business can be high. It’s no wonder that achieving sustainability in an office environment is no easy feat. This became even more clearer when businesses were closed due to a global pandemic. With that in mind, many factors contribute to a company’s carbon footprint – from air-conditioning to a coffee machine. The simple gesture of sending an email can have an impact on our climate. But according to recent findings, the UK government plans on changing the way commercial and industrial buildings affect the climate. The new proposed rating system will increase awareness of energy usage among residents and encourage businesses to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Alas, sustainability in the workplace requires your understanding of exactly how much energy you’re using and rethinking the carbon footprint you’re producing. 

  • Create People-Centric Sustainability Strategies 

Bringing that vision of creating a more sustainable workplace and practices for your employees to fruition may take a number of preliminary steps. Organizations cannot treat sustainability as an afterthought, nor can they afford to capitalize on the appearance of sustainability without the underlying business processes and principles. Today’s employees and consumers can recognize which brands and companies are legitimate in their commitments and which are not. 

To retain top talent and maintain an enthusiastic buyer persona, companies must genuinely work to make our world a better place. That means pursuing UN’s sustainability goals by making services, products and operations more sustainable, both inwardly and outwardly. 

  • Engage Employees in Sustainable Practices 

If your business wants to create an environmentally conscious attitude from scratch, getting 100% of the employees on board could prove difficult. To be more efficient, you will need to create your business’s own green team. Choosing an employee or team to kickstart your green initiatives improve your chances of accomplishing more. A green team can actively promote sustainability and raise awareness of the project within the workplace. 

They can also train other staff members by holding a monthly training session, or maybe they can even create monthly sustainability goal challenges – perhaps compete with other departments. Assigning green responsibilities across your organization will make it more likely all employees will get involved. 

  • Promote Green Policies but Don’t Force It 

Once you’ve got responsible representatives in place, you can then think about the goals you plan to achieve. Note that this may vary depending on your business but creating a framework in the form of an environmental strategy or policy is a great way to start. A smart way to promote your business-wide green-minded change is to create a sustainable policy highlighting the reason why and how you’re going to make your business eco-friendlier. 

Note that you should go easy, maybe asking teams to consider the way they commute to work, how much waste they produce at lunchtime. While it’s important to engage employees in the sustainability issue topic, it’s important to remember not to force the issue on them. 

  • Apply Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Rule 

Encourage employees to reduce workplace waste. Reducing the waste problem involves removing all single-use and disposable products from the company’s canteen. The things could be K-cups, coffee pods, plates and more.

Instead, opt for reusable dishware and silverware, or if you want to further increase your recycling options and save on waste management services, you can opt for a range of balers and compactors that can be installed anywhere in your company’s premises. A benefit of replacing disposable products is that you’ll no longer have to buy them regularly. 

Recycling remains one of the most viable acts employees can reach together. You will want to make sure the proper signage is in place so that employees know what to recycle and where. 

  • Go Paperless 

Reducing the amount of paper or going completely paperless can save money and time. For instance, you can invest in automation systems that can keep the company organized. With a business knowledge as your cloud storage, employees can store information, data, to-dos, revenue, client information, expenses and more, all in one place for smooth access from any location.

With a cloud system, your company can ditch as many paper resources as possible. Online platforms make communicating and sending documents extremely convenient, and they reduce the costs of paper and printing as well.

  • Use Smart Appliances to Conserve Energy 

Conserving energy is one of the most efficient ways to promote sustainability. It saves you money while helping the environment. Capitalizing on energy saving-devices is a smart move that will pay itself off in no time. Smart power strips, LED light bulbs, and light switches conserve energy and save money. 

Instead of desktops, you can opt for laptops, as they save a lot more electricity and money as well. Remember your employees to set up their sleep mode, as well, to save even more. Elsewhere, you can find where systems, office devices and appliances are using unnecessary energy. 

Now you have at hand several viable ways to improve sustainability in the workplace, it’s time for forward-thinking action. As concern for the environmental issues peaks, action towards reducing carbon footprint will help your business stand and ultimately blend in the eyes of a progressively environmentally conscious society.

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